Questions and answers

How does “The Planets” work?

“The Planets” is an app for Android and iOS smartphones and headphones. It uses a merging or fusion of different sensor data (GPS, compass and gyroscope) to calculate a three-dimensional acoustic experience for your current position and body rotation. You move in a large sound field that you can explore walking.

What is “3D Audio”?

“3D Audio” refers to listening from any horizontal and vertical direction. A listening experience like the one humans have in reality, which goes beyond the usual surround formats such as 5.1. Since we can hear in every direction with our two ears, the two headphone cups are also sufficient to create this all-around sound experience (binaural = with two ears). The so-called artificial head stereophony has known this principle for almost 100 years. Today’s digital technology allows synthesizing the binaural directional information, which enables completely new sensual experiences.

At the heart of the app are Dear Reality‘s Spatial Sound algorithms. Using synthetic binauralization, sound sources can thus be located via headphones in all directions of the three-dimensional space around the head. In other words, you can control not only whether you hear the sound from the right or left, but also from the front or back or up or down.

My headphones have 3D audio features such as additional spatial sound. Why does directional hearing not work so well for me?

The app calculates all the 3D audio aspects you need for hearing the direction and developing the right sense of space. Additional 3D audio simulations in the headphones are actually fatal: they destroy the localization and you can no longer hear any direction. Please disable such additional features for the Planets app.

How powerful does my smartphone need to be?

The audio processing in the app is highly complex and very demanding in terms of the smartphone’s computing power. Nevertheless, we were able to keep the requirement within limits, relatively speaking. The minimum requirements are, for example, a Samsung S9 running Android or an iPhone SE (2016) running iOS; the app was developed and tested on these devices.

You’ll also need headphones, of course, preferably with noise-canceling technology.

Make sure that the battery is fully charged!

Does the app collect data?

No, we do not collect any personal data. We log completely anonymously when anyone uses the app, but we only save the date and time, no IP address or anything like that. This is purely for statistical purposes. We do not know anything about you.

How long is the experience?

Our app undertakes the worldwide unique attempt to enable a complete (full-length) symphonic experience as an interactive and immersive listening walk. It’s best to allow yourself at least one hour.

What is “Sofilab”?

Sofilab UG was founded in 2017 by composer and theater maker Mathis Nitschke to address the question: “What are the new forms of listening enjoyment in the immersive and interactive environment we live in today?”

Sofilab contributes to answering this question by developing innovative artistic projects that combine traditional forms of sonic expression with fresh approaches to audience participation and the use of emerging sound technologies, always based on a deep understanding of the history and nature of music and sound.

Sofilab brings together the most talented artists, technologists and designers in their field, seniors and juniors alike, many of whom working in a interdisciplinary way, to achieve its goal: to create the truly fascinating and captivating sound and music experiences of the 21st century. 


An interview with Mathis Nitschke on “The Planets” can be found here, for example (German):